Remember two years ago, when I said the 20s were going to roar?
Well, I didn’t mean a little virus was going to roar over us. It’s been…quite a year. No, quite a couple of years.
I love to spend New Years’ Day reflecting on the past year—and planning the next. As I said in Bill’s This Time Next Year challenge, the lockdowns and furloughs and protocols have worn me down, and now, I am in the worst shape of my life, physically and mentally, since college. Everything has fallen apart, and I feel completely broken. And I am far from alone.
Despite all of the awful, I learned some very valuable lessons in 2021. In February, I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, finally understanding how my brain works. I realized that all the time I have spent escaping into a dreamland was exactly what prevented me from chasing my dreams. I wasn’t only using my dreams as an escape—I was using “self care” as an excuse to avoid the long, difficult pathway towards success.
In these two years of ‘rona, I had forgotten what it was going to take….to live the life of my dreams.
Clearly, I need a reboot, and it starts with developing three qualities that all start with the letter D:
Determination. Dedication. Discipline.
Last year, I talked about the Grind, how to keep going when you’re tired or challenged or never believe you will succeed. I had three goals, and while #blogsandcoffee has been a great success, I struggled to create a daily routine. (Don’t even ask about the English accent. I decided to start learning French instead.)
The reason I failed at creating a daily routine—was that I wasn’t determined enough to be dedicated enough to have the discipline to make it happen. I chose the instant gratification of dreams and indulgences, rather than working through the challenges from juggling so many balls in the air.
Did you know that people with OCPD struggle with multitasking? Um, yeah. I probably also need to learn how to say “no” more often….
Now, there are a lot of people reading this and thinking, “um, Erin, you are the most disciplined, dedicated person I know. I mean, in high school/college/work/running you are so able to get it done.”
Well, I am…when it’s simple, like training for a marathon, or has triggered my compulsions, like writing this blog post, but once things get complicated, I can’t handle all that’s being thrown at me. Like what we have to manage as an adult—work, home, finances, health, leisure—add in the stresses of covid, and I have lost my way.
(I’m also really, really good at hiding my struggles.)
To succeed at this endeavor, I have to start simple, with one project I know I can do if I am determined, I am dedicated, and I am disciplined. I need to appreciate the baby steps it will take to complete this project and do them, even when I’m tired or anxious or had a bad day. It will be like filling a rain barrel with an eyedropper, so I have to use these three D’s to stay on track, progressing towards completion.
Once I have reached my goal with that first project, I repeat the process with another project, then another, and another, building my determination, my dedication, and my discipline with each iteration, empowering me to tackle increasingly difficult projects.
If I master these three D’s, perhaps I will have a daily routine by the end of the year, the first step towards the life of my dreams.